The Douglas County Health Department had made COVID-19 vaccine appointments for about 4,500 elderly residents by midafternoon Friday, just a few hours after activating its registration website.
That means the county is well on its way toward signing up the estimated 12,000 residents 80 and older who live outside long-term care facilities, said Phil Rooney, a Health Department spokesman. Residents of such facilities are receiving their shots through a separate federal pharmacy program.
Omaha’s Total Wellness is powering the registration system. Owner Alan Kohll developed the system.
The first vaccination clinics will open next week for those born in 1941 or earlier. The clinics will be held at four locations across the county. The Health Department is coordinating the sites in partnership with Nebraska Medicine, CHI Health, Creighton University and Methodist Health System.
The Health Department is providing 700 doses per day per site. Currently, the department is booking appointments about three weeks out. Some of those will be second-dose clinics.
Those seeking to make an appointment should visit the registration site at www.douglascountyhealth.com/ 109-covid-19/808- covid-19-community-vaccination-clinics.
The locations and times for the clinics:
Christ Community Church, 404 S. 108th St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning Tuesday.
Immanuel Medical Center, 72nd Street and Sorensen Parkway, in the rear of the hospital, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays beginning Wednesday.
The Nebraska Medicine Testing and Vaccination Clinic, 144th Street and Millard Avenue, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays beginning Thursday.
Creighton University’s Rasmussen Center, 702 N. 17th St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays beginning Feb. 6.
Those who previously signed up through the Health Department’s notification system should have received a call or email from the department letting them know that vaccine is available. Anyone who did not receive an email can find the same information on the department’s website.
County residents 80 and older who do not have computer access can call the Health Department’s information line at 402-444-3400 to make an appointment.
Those seeking shots must have an appointment. No drop-ins will be allowed.
The Health Department also is providing vaccine on a limited basis to OneWorld Community Health Center, Charles Drew Health Center in North Omaha and the Ponca Tribe’s Fred LeRoy Health and Wellness Center in South Omaha. Patients and community members who fit the proper age category should call those centers for appointments.
In addition, Kohll’s Rx will provide vaccine shots to people in independent living and retirement communities. A Nebraska Methodist College van will serve vulnerable populations. The Health Department also will test a vaccination program with two Hy-Vee pharmacies.
Andrea Skolkin, OneWorld’s CEO, said it’s critical that everyone gets the vaccine. But she stressed it’s important that the health centers in North Omaha and South Omaha get their own allotments because they are serving communities of color hard hit by the virus.
The virus’s impacts in those communities have come because many residents often cannot work from home and live in multigenerational households where they risk spreading the virus to vulnerable elders if they become ill.
Skolkin said she thinks OneWorld’s South Omaha clinic will be allotted 200 doses next week and more later. The health center also has clinics in Bellevue and Plattsmouth. Those clinics will receive separate allotments through the Sarpy/Cass Health Department.
The health centers already have begun contacting patients in the 80-and-over group to get them scheduled, Skolkin said.
David Kohll of Kohll’s Rx said he already has been working with local health departments to vaccinate people with developmental disabilities.
His staff began vaccinating elders in independent living centers in Sarpy County this week and will begin to visit those in Douglas County next week.
This week, Douglas County health officials have been working to complete vaccinations of health care workers in the first phase of the vaccination plan.
Among them are veterinarians, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians from the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Rooney said veterinarians are included because it’s important to prevent the commingling of human and animal viruses, which could result in additional variants of the disease.